Britany Riley , Julia Sherman  //  8/11/17  //  Daily Update

Transgender service members challenge the President's proposed ban on military service by transgender people. The President talks about war with North Korea, and commentary ensues about whether the President legally could order a military strike there. And the Administration delays an Obama-era rule governing the relationship between financial advisers and their clients.



Five transgender service members are challenging President Trump’s proposed reversal of the military’s transgender service policy, writes Helen Klein Murillo (Lawfare). 

  • The complaint is available here. 



President Trump’s voter fraud commission risks being a target for hackers, reports Geoff Mulvihill (PBS Newshour). 



President Trump has escalated his warnings to North Korea, stating that his previous comments were possibly not harsh enough (NYT, WaPo, WSJ). 

  • Attacking North Korea would be illegal, writes Zachary Price at Take Care. 
  • Marty Lederman also thinks that President Trump cannot lawfully strike North Korea without congressional approval (Take Care). 
  • Nevertheless, President Trump might still launch an attack without congressional authorization, writes Ilya Somin (WaPo). 
  • The United States should not give up on diplomatic solutions to North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, argues Susan E. Rice (NYT).
  • If President Trump decides to launch of preemptive strike, his senior military advisers have few other options, notes Dan Lamothe (WaPo).
  • President Trump’s threats are clumsy and unlikely to change North Korea’s calculus or behavior, argues Eric Gomez at the Cato Institute. 
  • The New York Times provides an outline of self-defense and international law with regards to the situation in North Korea here. 

The Trump Administration is apparently considering whether to privatize a large portion of the war in Afghanistan (WaPo, USA Today). 

  • Such a plan would risk significant problems that could undermine the military’s mission, writes Laura Dickinson (Just Security). 



FCC Chairman Ajit Pai faces calls to recuse himself from FCC decision-making regarding capping prison phone call rates due to his relationship with former client and prison phone service provider Securus Technologies (Ars Technica). 



A Bipartisan health care fix is possible, but there are a number of talking points lawmakers should consider, suggest Joseph Antos and James Capretta on Health Affairs Blog.  

The Trump Administration requested a delay in implementation of the Obama-era rule requiring financial advisers to act in their customers’ best interest (NYT). 



Writing on his own blog, Eric Posner evaluates the chances that President Trump will be impeached.



The raid of former Trump advisor Paul Manafort’s home suggests that Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation had probable cause to believe the search would uncover time-sensitive evidence of a crime, argues Julian Sanchez on Just Security. 

  • The President claims the raid was “pretty tough stuff.” (Politico)

President Trump thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for saving the U.S. money, after President Putin’s decision to expel a significant number of State Department staff from Russia (NYT, WaPo, Politico).

Daily Update | August 18, 2017

8/18/17  //  Daily Update

Thirteen people were killed and over eighty injured when a suspected terrorist drove a van through a crowd of tourists in Barcelona. President Trump, in response, tweeted that Americans should study what “General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught,” a reference to a false story about an American general who dipped bullets in pigs’ blood and used them to kill unarmed prisoners of war. Three days after white supremacists and neo-Nazis marched on Charlottesville, VA, killing one and injuring many others, President Trump tweeted that removing “beautiful” confederate statues was “foolish,” and that doing so would risk our country’s “history and culture.” Meanwhile, President Trump’s personal attorney, John Dowd, forwarded an email claiming that there is “literally no difference” between Robert E. Lee and George Washington.

Daily Update | August 17, 2017

8/17/17  //  Daily Update

Reaction continues to the President's remarks on the Charlottesville attack. The Administration commits to making controversial Obamacare cost-sharing reduction payments through the end of this month. And Democrats claim that the President's FCC chair is giving special assistance to Sinclair Broadcast Group, a right-leaning newscaster and station owner.

Daily Update | August 16, 2017

8/16/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump reverted to his earlier statement on Charlottesville, saying “both sides” are to blame for the violence. California is joining the city of San Francisco in its sanctuary city suit against the Trump Administration. The Justice Department is demanding information on visitors to a website used to protest President Trump’s inauguration. The Congressional Budget Office concluded that President Trump’s proposal to cut cost-sharing reduction payments to health insurers under the Affordable Care Act would increase premiums and the federal deficit.